Build a wellness program
A wellness program aims to help employees and their family members feel their best through positive voluntary behavior changes. These changes focus on reducing health and injury risks, improving health consumer skills, and enhancing well-being.
On this page
Use the SmartHealth Worksite Wellness Roadmap to build and grow a sustainable wellness program.
We created this online tool based on researched best practices to help you plan and target key areas for success. For a one-page summary of the roadmap's eight-steps, see SmartHealth Roadmap Visual.
New to wellness?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to help you get started, engage your leaders, or explain the business case of why wellness is a win-win for organizations and their staff.
Free learning resource
The Art and Science of Health Promotion Institute kindly offers a free PDF version of Health Promotion in the Workplace, the most widely used reference text in the field. This 721-page book helps anyone who designs, manages, evaluates, or studies worksite wellness programs.
We want to recognize and award your hard work and success! Submitting the roadmap each year is your organization’s application for our annual Zo8 Award.
Your organization can earn the Zo8 Award without completing every task we outline in the roadmap because we recognize and respect that all of you face your own unique challenges and are at different levels of program maturity. Go to tracking success for more details about the Zo8 Award.
Along with the chance to earn the Zo8 award, here are three more reasons why your organization should use the roadmap:
- Easy-to-use tool to build a wellness program plan.
- Helps both new and mature wellness programs.
- Based on best practices from wellness leaders.
When is the roadmap due?
The roadmap is due by February 28 each year. Report the great work you did the previous year to apply for our annual Zo8 Award.
To help you follow and complete the roadmap, use the resources below.
What is leadership support?
Leadership support can come in many different forms including a single sponsor or an executive leadership team. Leadership support can be a simple letter of support or something more complex like incorporating wellness into your new employee orientation.
Why get leadership support?
You need leadership support for sustained success. Once leadership buys-in, everything becomes easier. Involve leadership up front to find out what they need and expect. Their needs will help shape the goals for your worksite wellness program. For more details on why you should get leadership support, see Leadership Support (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
How to get leadership support
Use the resources below to help you complete the tasks to get leadership support. For more details on how get leadership support, see Strategies for Enhancing Management Support for Wellness (adopted from the Chapman Institute)
Task 1.1: Work with leadership to define the wellness vision for your organization
- Tips on how to talk with leaders and get their input:
Task 1.2: Ask what types of resources and budget leadership will provide
Task 1.3: Ask which leaders will help promote or support the program
What is a successful team?
A successful team enjoys working together and for one another to achieve shared goals. Form a diverse team if possible. Look for a mix of skills, experience, age, and more. A diverse team offers unique skills and expertise. For more details on what is a successful team, see Build A High-Performing Team in 30 Minutes (Forbes).
Why form a team?
A team makes everything easier. A team can reach more people, accomplish more tasks, and reach sustained success by sharing the load. When your team grows together, you are better prepared to handle changes. For more details on why you should form a team, see Creating Cohesive Wellness Teams (WELCOA).
How do I form a successful team?
Use the resources below to help you complete the tasks to form a successful team to grow your worksite wellness program. For more details, see Form Your Wellness Team.
Task 2.1: Form a diverse team with staff from different units, backgrounds, and work roles
Task 2.2: Define roles and create a team structure and workflow
What is collecting information?
You can collect information in a variety of ways, but we want you to focus on a few key pieces to help shape your program. Now that you found out your leadership needs, reach out to your staff and find out what they want.
Why collect information?
Knowing where you are at makes it easier to figure out where to go. Ask your audience what they want in a wellness program. Using this collaborative approach gives them a voice in shaping the program, making it more likely for them to join and inspire others. Collecting information will give you the details you need to create a sound wellness plan. For more details on why you should collect information, see Collecting Data to Drive Health Efforts (WELCOA).
How to collect information
Use the resources below to help you collect information to create a plan for your program. For more details on how to collect information, see Building a Sound Data Collection Plan (Six Sigma).
Task 3.1: Send a wellness interest survey to your staff
- Designing surveys (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Worksite wellness interest survey example
Task 3.2: Give staff multiple ways to share feedback
- Make it easy for your staff to share input. Offer options that make sense for your organization (email, phone, physical drop box, etc.), but try to use the ones that make it easy for you to track and organize the feedback.
Task 3.3: Request access to the SmartHealth Data Dashboard
- Contact email@example.com with your name, organization, and phone number to request access.
Task 3.4: Use the dashboard to review your SmartHealth data
What is a wellness plan?
Your wellness plan mirrors a good project management plan. Similar to all project plans, you can use a shorter, simpler template if you are just starting or a more robust plan if you have a mature program. Use terms that fit your organization such as mission, goals, or objectives.
Why use a wellness plan?
A good plan makes it easier for everyone to work together. Following the principle of starting slow to move fast, the extra work up front will help you work faster and smarter down the line. The plan will help keep your team on track, know what to do and when, and have a formal way to share your success at the end of the year. To help assess whether your workplace environment supports good health practices, see Checklist to Change (WellSteps).
How do I create a wellness plan?
Use the resources below to help you complete the tasks to create your plan. For a comprehensive review on how to plan, implement, and evaluate your program, see Worksite Wellness Implementation Guide (WellSteps).
Task 4.1: Analyze your wellness interest survey results
- For ideas on how to analyze survey results, see Analyzing surveys (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Task 4.2: Find ways to combine leadership’s vision with your interest survey results
- Work with the information you collected to create SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. To get started, see Focusing on Smart Goals in Your Employee Wellness Program (Total Wellness).
Task 4.3: Plan how and when to communicate with your staff
- Eight Ways to Communicate Your Strategy More Effectively (Harvard Business Review).
Task 4.4: Plan how and when to integrate SmartHealth
- Go to SmartHealth to find promotional materials, tips on integrating SmartHealth activities, and more.
Task 4.5: Plan how and when leadership can help promote
Task 4.6: Create a wellness plan using all of the information you gathered since step 1
- See Carefully Crafting an Operating Plan (WELCOA) for their approach to building a wellness program.
Task 4.7: Get leadership to review, approve, and sign the wellness plan
- See Leadership Support of Wellness Plans Increases Success (Business Insurance) to explain the importance of this step.
What are wellness activities?
Wellness activities are the things you do and promote at the worksite to engage staff in healthy lifestyle activities. Focus on giving them activities they want to create excitement and maximize participation. Build activities based on the eight dimensions of wellness (emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual).
Why promote activities?
You need to engage your staff for them to participate. Without staff participation, your program cannot succeed. Think about staff interests, goals, and needs to maximize participation. You can raise wellness awareness, but these activities give staff the opportunity to practice them. By giving them the activities they want, you can build morale, increase visibility, and generate excitement. For tips on how to engage employees, see How to Maximize Employee Wellness Participation (WellSteps).
How do I promote activities?
Task 5.1: Use multiple communication channels
- See Multichannel Marketing (SAS) to find out why using multiple communication channels matters.
- Use Plain Talk to make your messages clear, concise, and visually easy to read.
Task 5.2: Promote SmartHealth news and activities
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to join our email distribution list so you can stay connected.
Task 5.3: Integrate and promote a SmartHealth activity
- Go to SmartHealth to find activity calendar and details.
Task 5.4: Get leadership to promote or visibly support at least one activity
What are wellness policies?
Wellness policies help shape how your staff can engage in your wellness program. These policies define the experience, answering the what, when, and how for your organization. You can explore a wide range of policies to meet staff needs.
Why create wellness policies?
You will reduce the barriers for your staff to engage and participate in wellness by creating or updating policies. By making it easier for them to participate, you give them the access they need to explore. This maximizes participation, grows internal support, and adds visibility to your efforts. As your staff's needs change, your team can find ways to meet them by creating new policies. For more details on why you should create wellness policies, See Creating a Supportive Environment (WELCOA) for tips on how to create or update wellness policies.
How do I create wellness policies?
Use the resources below to help you complete the tasks to create or update wellness policies. See Walk This Way for a resource on state and local policies that support wellness in and around the workplace.
Task 6.1: Find and organize your current wellness policies
- By organizing your current wellness policies, you will have a better sense of where you are to help you figure out where you need to go with your policy work.
Task 6.2: Review your policies. Use the information you collected from the previous steps to find opportunities to increase access to your wellness activities
Task 6.3: Create or update wellness policies to meet your needs
- Wellness policy examples from PEBB-insured organizations
- See Wellness Policies (Alliance For a Healthier Generation) for an organized process on creating or updating wellness policies.
What is the evaluation?
The evaluation gives you the chance to share your success with others. Your evaluation should include the measurable goals from your wellness plan. By creating measurable goals, objectives, or whatever term your organization uses, you have a way to measure and share results. The evaluation should also ask staff for their input. This will help you plan for the next year, giving insight for your next interest survey.
Why evaluate your progress?
If you do not know what did or did not work, how will you know what to improve or what you can build on? You need to evaluate your progress so you can share your story. For more details on why you should evaluate your progress, see Ensure Use of Evaluation Findings and Share Lessons Learned (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). How you evaluate your progress impacts your ongoing leadership support, along with the budget you have or may want.
How do I evaluate progress?
Use the resources below to help you complete the tasks to evaluate progress. See Carefully Evaluating Outcomes (WELCOA) for ideas on how to evaluate your progress. You can also try to answer the three following questions to help you evaluate your progress:
- What: What do you see? What does the data tell you?
- So What: What sense can you make of the emerging data? What does it mean to you?
- Now What: What are your options? What do you plan to do next?
Task 7.1: Send an evaluation survey to staff
- Go to the links below to for ideas or templates you can use and customize for your evaluation survey. Make it easy for staff by giving them enough time and the right channels to share their feedback. You need their input to evaluate, plan, and grow your program.
Task 7.2: Use the SmartHealth Data Dashboard to evaluate your organization’s SmartHealth data
- Contact email@example.com with your name, organization, and phone number to request access.
Note: Organizations with less than 50 PEBB enrolled employees cannot get access to the dashboard.
Task 7.3: Use your wellness plan to evaluate your measurable goals
Task 7.4: Evaluate your team structure and workflow process
Task 7.5: Evaluate the effectiveness of your communication channels
Task 7.6: Create an evaluation report so you can share what did and did not work
- For tips on how to get started and what to include, see How to Thoroughly Evaluate Your Workplace Wellness Program (Bailey Group).
- For a detailed explanation of how to evaluate your progress, see Workplace Health Promotion: Evaluation (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
What is sharing results?
Sharing results keeps everyone in the loop. You started your wellness journey for the year and this is a great way to help close the circle for everyone involved. You can share what did and did not work so you can gear up and plan for next year.
Why share results?
You need to share your results to tell your wellness story. This will keep both leadership and staff connected to your program, building a sense of ownership for everyone involved.
How do I share results?
Use the resources below to help you complete the tasks to share results. For more ideas on how to share results, see Communicating evaluation findings (Better Evaluation). You can find more tips at www.betterevaluation.org.
Task 8.1: Recognize and award your wellness team, volunteers, and leaders
- See The Power of Positive Employee Recognition (About Money) for ideas on how to provide effective employee recognition.
- See 50 No/Low Cost Recognition Ideas (Office of Great Workplace Development).
Task 8.2: Share evaluation results with leadership
Task 8.3: Share evaluation results with staff
- See the following resources for tips on how to share results with leaders or staff:
- Communicating Employee Survey Results: 10 Do's and Don'ts (Quantum Workplace)
- Infographics to make your evaluation results go viral (Better Evaluation)
- 10 Tips for Sharing Evaluation Results (National Service)
Healthy Nutrition Guidelines
In a collaborative effort with the Department of Health to improve worksite wellness, we want all the organizations we work with to adopt and implement the Healthy Nutrition Guidelines. Go to Healthy Nutrition Guidelines for more details.